Responding to Wikipedia's Gender Gap with a Call to Action
Responding to last week's disturbing New York Times front page news that women comprise only 13% of Wikipedia's contributors, NCRW President Linda Basch submitted the following letter, which was published in Sunday's paper:
Today women earn 57 percent of the bachelor’s degrees, 61 percent of the master’s degrees and, as of 2009, a majority of doctorates in the United States. It is inconceivable that this well-educated majority should be largely absent from the world’s most popular interactive encyclopedia project.
Organizations like the Women’s Media Center, the OpEd Project and Women’s eNews have long argued that women’s voices are too scarce in mainstream media. Research indicates that women make up just one third of the top 100 syndicated columnists in the United States, and just over one-third of full-time staff at daily newspapers.
The inclusion of women’s expertise on Wikipedia is vital not just for the sake of fairness, but because without such representation, the whole of society loses the experience, knowledge and perspective of over half the population.
We must join together to encourage women to participate more actively in this public forum.